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Ruling party hawks call for nuclear subs to counter N.K. SLBM

All Headlines 09:18 August 29, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- A group of lawmakers from South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party said Monday the country should consider building a nuclear-powered submarine, amid escalating provocations by Pyongyang.

The remark came as North Korea on Wednesday test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in waters off its east coast. The South Korean military said the missile flew about 500 kilometers toward Japan, making the longest flight by such a missile launched by the communist country.

"South Korea's military should move to deal effectively with North Korea's SLBM threat by deploying a submarine with nuclear propulsion that can better detect and attack North Korean vessels," the lawmakers said in a statement.

"Pyongyang must stop military provocations that threaten not only Northeast Asia, but the entire world," they added. "North Korea should take the path of peace and prosperity and realize that nuke tests and missile launches will only lead to self-destruction."

The group is led by five-term Rep. Won Yoo-chul, along with 22 other lawmakers.

"South Korea, surrounded by sea at three sides, is vulnerable to North Korea's SLBM threats. Deployment of a nuclear-powered submarines is needed to counter such provocations," Won said.

A nuclear-powered submarine can stay submerged and hidden as long as it has fuel and supplies for the crew, making it harder to track compared to conventional diesel-electric subs that usually have to surface and operate a diesel engine to recharge its batteries.

colin@yna.co.kr
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